Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success

May 31, 2017

Episode 4: Voices from ASU+GSV – Digital Innovation


From the ASU+GSV Summit, this edition of To A Degree explores innovation, equity, and excellence in higher education. Guests include Javier Miyares, president of the University of Maryland University College; Ann Kirschner, professor at The City University of New York; Dror Ben-Naim, founder and CEO of learning analytics company Smart Sparrow; and Michael Moe, chairman and CEO of GSV Capital and GSV Asset Management.

Segment 1: Javier Miyares

Javier Miyares, president of University of Maryland University College (UMUC), discusses how UMUC’s history of service to the military has informed its online efforts and use of analytics to help working adults succeed.

Additional Resources: University of Maryland University College strategic plan

Segment 2: Ann Kirschner

Ann Kirschner, professor at The City University of New York (CUNY), talks about the evolution of online learning, what has been disrupted and what hasn’t, and where online education is heading.

Additional Resources: Ann Kirschner’s website

Segment 3: Dror Ben-Naim

Dror Ben-Naim, founder and CEO of Smart Sparrow, discusses the promise and reality of using adaptive learning to enhance student learning and outcomes, especially for low-income students and students of color.

Additional Resources: EdSurge article by Dror Ben-Naim “​What Makes a Smart Course ‘Smart’?”

Segment 4: Michael Moe

Michael Moe discusses the four key gravitational shifts impacting education and society: the rise of digital natives, real and virtual geographic shifts, digital disruption and automation, and the knowledge economy.

Additional Resources: GSV’s weekly commentary website


Guest Bios

Javier Miyares is the president of University of Maryland University College, a constituent institution of the University System of Maryland. Since his appointment in 2012, he has expanded opportunities for adult learners and leveraged “big data” and analytics to advance learning science.



Ann Kirschner is a professor at The City University of New York and president of Comma International, consultants in technology and education. Formerly, she was dean of Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, a strategic advisor to the chancellor, and a veteran of four start-ups.




Dror Ben-Naim is the founder and CEO of Smart Sparrow, an Australian ed tech start-up pioneering adaptive and personalized learning technology. He’s also a professor of practice at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.




Michael Moe is chairman, CEO, and chief investment officer of GSV Capital and GSV Asset Management. In 1996, he began to publish a series of white papers predicting the emergence of education and talent as an investment sector.




Moderator Bio

Casey Green

Casey Green, the moderator and co-producer of To A Degree, is the founding director of The Campus Computing Project, the largest continuing study of eLearning and information technology in American higher education. Check out his blog, Digital Tweed, and follow him on Twitter at @DigitalTweed.



To A Degree is produced for the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation by G2 Education. Jinny Goldstein, the co-founder of G2Ed, is the executive producer of To A Degree.

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